A new English translation of the Studio Ghibli icon's 1983 comic contains seeds of Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Check out an exclusive preview.
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Before he was one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animation, Hayao Miyazaki wrote and drew his own manga. And as a new release makes clear, those stories carried the seeds of stories, ideas, and designs that would later flourish fully in his acclaimed movies like Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä, of course, was directly adapted from the manga series of the same name that Miyazaki had written and drawn from 1982 to 1994, before he founded Studio Ghibli. But during that same period, Miyazaki also wrote and drew another graphic novel, Shuna's Journey, which is now being published in the U.S. for the very first time by First Second. Alex Dudok de Wit handled the English translation. EW has an exclusive preview of Miyazaki's gorgeous art from the book below. 

The cover of 'Shuna's Journey'
'Shuna's Journey,' a 1983 graphic novel by Hayao Miyazaki, is finally being published in the U.S.
| Credit: Copyright © 1983 Studio Ghibli All rights reserved. First published in Japan by Tokuma Shoten Co., Ltd.

Shuna's Journey is about a young prince from a dying land who is desperate to create a better life for his people. When he hears of "golden grain," a legendary crop to be found out west that is much easier and more fulfilling to farm than the weeds his countrymen make do with, Shuna mounts his trusty elk and sets out to find some seeds to bring back to his homeland. 

Some of this may sound familiar. Princess Mononoke, one of Miyazaki's most beloved films (and EW's favorite), also centers on a young prince who leaves his barren land to find adventure and magic. Shuna's loyal mount is quite reminiscent of the trusty Yakul from Princess Mononoke. Like Ashitaka, Shuna falls in love with a beautiful young woman and eventually makes his way to the hidden nature sanctuary of the gods. There, Shuna encounters tall, long-limbed beings who manage to resemble both the automatons of Castle in the Sky (but more organic) and the fiery giants of Nausicaä (but less destructive).

In other words, Shuna's Journey foreshadows much of Miyazaki's later work while still managing to be a complete standalone story in its own right. 

A page from 'Shuna's Journey'
The hero reaches the Land of the God-Folk in 'Shuna's Journey,' by Hayao Miyazaki
| Credit: Copyright © 1983 Studio Ghibli All rights reserved. First published in Japan by Tokuma Shoten Co., Ltd.
A page from 'Shuna's Journey'
The hero reaches the Land of the God-Folk in 'Shuna's Journey,' by Hayao Miyazaki
| Credit: Copyright © 1983 Studio Ghibli All rights reserved. First published in Japan by Tokuma Shoten Co., Ltd.

"What an immense honor it is to publish an original Hayao Miyazaki graphic novel," First Second creative director Mark Siegel said in a statement. "Shuna's Journey is a transporting, beautifully rendered tale by one of the greatest master storytellers of our time. Fans of Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (there are millions of us) will delight in finding early hints of these masterworks in gorgeous watercolor pages by Miyazaki's own hand. It's amazing Shuna's Journey has never been published before outside of Japan until now, as it belongs among his most inspired creations in any medium."

Shuna's Journey will be published in the U.S. on Nov. 1.

Related content:

Princess Mononoke
type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
runtime
  • 133 minutes
director

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